Nicaragua, June 2017

Did this trip change my life? Not in the past tense, no.

It’s changing my life.

The Dispatch Project’s trip to Nicaragua was both my first mission trip and first time leaving the country. Despite all the questions that accompany an international adventure—”What should I know about the culture? Do I need to pack bug spray and nine protective layers of clothes? How will I tell Mom we made it there safely?”—I never felt nervous or uncertain about going. Only excited for what would happen as a result.

Our eight-member team included fellow Click Rain employees Mark Drzycimski (this year’s fearless leader) and Kaitlyn Martinez. The team met as a group before leaving, got to know each other, and learned more about what it means to serve.

Our key takeaway? A short-term trip won’t resolve the pollution, corruption, and other daunting issues. Rather, our purpose there was to encourage—to reassure those we encountered of their worth, their work, and their role in fulfilling God’s plan. So from June 10 to 19, that’s what we did.

Read the full post and see all the amazing things we accomplished!

Nicaragua, April/May 2016

Nicaragua, April/May 2016

Early May, 2016, Dispatch Project sent 9 individuals oversees to Nicaragua.  Their trip was filled with a lot of variety and everyone had the ability to immerse themselves in the culture.  One of the trip participants, Michaela, provided a recap of the trip saying:

I love asking questions. As I was preparing for my first international service and learning trip to Nicaragua, I realized that my questions were partially based in worry and partially based in excitement. All because of the unknown. I found myself looking at blog posts of other teams and individuals around the United States that have traveled to Nicaragua. Googling “What should I bring on my trip to Nicaragua?” Reading and re-reading the pre-field guide. Asking my co-workers that have traveled there what they brought, what the experience was like, how bad the mosquitos were, what the food was like, and the list goes on.

Team relaxing at the beach.

Team relaxing at the beach.

Getting techy!

Getting techy!

One of the classrooms where we served.

One of the classrooms where we served.

A hard working group!

A hard working group!

You can read more about some of the questions that Michaela had and how they were answered by reading her blog post in full.  She also gives a great glimpse into the projects and initiatives they helped with while they were there.  Michaela also reflects on her time in Nicaragua, stating:

I traveled with amazing leadership and teammates and made truly memorable connections in Nicaragua. Sometimes we focus on what is done on these short-term trips, but we need to remember that there are so many people doing so many great things in Nicaragua—from missionaries and teachers to students and staff. I’m thankful for the opportunity to go on this trip, meet amazing people, and open my mind further to the amazing work that is being done in Nicaragua.

Read Full Recap Here

Participant Spotlight: Christy Faber

Christy Faber has attended a Dispatch trip to Nicaragua the past two years. She had a lot of positive things to say about her experience. You can learn more about the Nicaragua trip by reading this recap. Another group heads to Nicaragua in April, 2016!

What did you take away from your Dispatch trip?

The Dispatch trip was a wonderful experience. I now am more aware of the Nicaraguan community and have experienced a small piece of mission work in this country. I know that missions is now going to be a part of my life. I want to share a trip with each of my four children!

Tell me about a specific moment that stands out from your trip.

After worshiping with the International Christian Fellowship families, we were given a tour of the Nicaraguan Christian School. During the tour, I felt a desire to be in Nicaragua and in the mission field. It was later that we decided to apply to NCA, but we will not be serving in that role at this time.

How did this trip impact you as an individual and in the roles you play?

The trip to Nicaragua impacted my life as a mom, because I want to share missions with my children. I am encouraging them to see other cultures and use the gifts given by God to help others. I am more mission minded and try to focus on what is important in life.

 

Have you had the opportunity to share your experiences with others? And if so, how?

I have shared this experience with people in my church with a group video presentation. I have shared with parents and sibling through pictures and stories. I have shared with other teachers with stories and explanations of what we did while we were there.

If there is one or two words that would sum up your experience, what would they be?

Inspiring and educational!

Looking Back at Nicaragua

For the past three years, Dispatch has gathered together a team to fly down to Nicaragua and spend time with the three Nicaragua Christian Academy (NCA) schools, The Nehemiah Center and Tesoros de Dios in conjunction with Christian Reformed World Missions.  The trip allows those participating to not only work with the schools on special projects, but to also help out in classrooms, learn about the history and culture of Nicaragua and to develop relationships with both locals and missionaries living in Nicaragua.

The team left Sioux Falls on June 19th and consisted of 8 team members (including one from Amsterdam!) and after a full day of travel landed in Managua, Nicaragua.  The next morning we had the opportunity to attend church with International Christian Fellowship which worships at NCA International.  Attending service with other missionaries was a great way to kick of the trip!

The worship band getting ready for the service….we may have arrived a little early!

Over the course of the trip we were to spend our first 3 ½ days in Managua at NCA Nejapa, The Nehemiah Center and Tesoros de Dios before moving onto Matagalpa.

Monday morning dawned quite early with wakeup calls around 5 am so that we could have breakfast and team devotions and be ready to leave the guest house at 6:30 AM to make our way to NCA Nejapa and from there the group would split into two with the other half going to Tesoros de Dios.  At NCA Nejapa the team’s time was split between helping out in classrooms, painting around campus and working on various technology projects.

The above photo is of the finished walkway that we helped to paint while at NCA Nejapa.

Tesoros de Dios provides services for children with disabilities in the Managua community and also provide support the families, training classes, disability education, home economics and bible study. During our time at the school we joined the staff and students for their morning walk and helped with their physical therapy sessions.  Tesoros also offers horse therapy, which has been shown to promote physical, occupational and emotional growth as horses have similar social and responsive behaviors as humans which allows for a natural connection between patient and horse. Watching the young students participating in the horse therapy was one of the favorite things the group was able to do.  You could see their faces light up when it was their turn and they had so much fun while on the horses and were really engaged with the activities.

The school is also creating a prayer garden in a quiet corner of the yard and so we spent some time while we were there helping to weed and clear out the space.  This will provide the family members of the students a quiet place to sit in prayer while they wait.

On Tuesday afternoon we said goodbye to Managua and made the 2 hour trek to the beautiful mountain town of Matagalpa where we spent the remainder of the trip. NCA Matagalpa is the newest of the NCA schools and was just wrapping up its third year when we were there.  There is an almost tangible spirit at the school that you can feel immediately upon entering the gates.  The school is currently adding a row of 4 new classrooms which will serve as the preschool classes and also allow for the school to add 10th grade classes with the goal of eventually going through 11thgrade.  One of our projects was working alongside the local construction crew and helping them by moving rocks, sifting sand and building rebar for the new classrooms.

We traveled to La Finca, a coffee farm, on Saturday which is about 2 hours from Matagalpa further into the mountains of Jinotega, which is a Young Life (Vida Joven in Spanish) Camp sitting on a working coffee farm.  The coffee produced on the farm is award winning and all of the profits made from selling the coffee go to sending a young Nicaraguan to camp in the beautiful surroundings of the farm.  It only takes one bag of coffee to cover the costs of one day at camp for a young child to have the opportunity to learn about the Christian gospel. If you like good coffee, I highly recommend checking out beyondbeanscoffee.com and ordering some!

Our last full day in Nicaragua was our 2nd Sunday in the country and we were able to attend a local church in Matagalpa.  While most of us do not speak Spanish, it wasn’t necessary as music crosses all boundaries, languages and cultures.  There was a scheduled power outage for the day due to a Festival over the weekend that used more power than usual, so church was held without lights or microphones and the band played acoustic – it was a lovely worship service despite the obstacles!

After church, we were able to spend the day together as a team enjoying the beautiful scenery of Nicaragua and reflecting on our time there. It was so great to see the work that God is doing in Nicaragua and the impact these schools are having on the youth in preparing them to be future leaders of Nicaragua.

Nicaragua is Coming!

Dispatch Project will be organizing a service and learning trip to Nicaragua, June 20-29.  Much like our trip in October we will be serving at The Nehemiah CenterNicaragua Christian Academy, and Tesoros De Dios.

Our primary focus will be supporting these organizations using the specific skill set of the team members. This may include computer technical support, teacher training, working with children (including those with special needs), writing, marketing, or light construction.

“Going to Nicaragua was an incredible experience – every aspect – seeing the country, learning about the culture, growing as a team, listening to the missionaries share their testimonies of God’s faithfulness, and seeing God at work.”

–Tammy Veenstra, Teacher, Heritage Christian School

A unique component of this trip is the focus not only on serving but also learning. Team members will participate in a group book study before the trip, discussing issues such as poverty and the role of short term mission trips. While in Nicaragua, the team will learn more about the country’s history as well as its current social, economic, and political challenges. The goal is a trip that is mutually beneficial—team members use their unique gifts to serve each organization and the organizations provide learning opportunities for each participant throughout the week.

This trip is ideal for people with an interest in education, IT, Spanish, or for anyone that has a heart for service in a cross-cultural setting. You’ll spend a lot of time with the people and immerse in the culture of Nicaragua.

The total cost of the trip is $2,000 which covers airfare, a $500 donation to the organizations being served, all meals, lodging, in-country transportation, a translator who will travel with the team, and team outings. The cost is 100% tax deductible.

For more information, please contact Brady Fopma at brady [at] fopma.net